Parliament notes the increasing number of Covid-19 in the country and continues to urge all South Africans to cooperate with the government and to vigilantly observe all hygiene and safety protocols. As a nation, collectively and individually, we must intensify the battle against this pandemic, which is continuing to cause devastation to families and our economy.
While the rate of infections remains a concern, we are however encouraged by the number of those recovering from the virus.
As more economic and social activities open, we must act even more vigilantly and cautiously to help slow down the rate of infection. During this period of alert level three, which involves the easing of restrictions, we urge everyone to continue adhering to the safety protocols. This includes maintaining social distancing, frequently washing your hands for at least 20 seconds and when in public areas wear a mask to protect oneself and those around them.
Parliament’s community has also not been immune from infections, with at least ten officials reported to have tested positive. Of these ten, three have fully recovered, six remain quarantined and fully supported. Previously, Parliament announced the sad passing of one official who succumbed to the virus.
“We are pleased and comforted to know that three of the officials who tested positive have fully recovered. We wish the rest of the staff members a speedy recovery. We are confident that, with the support from the institution, our prayers and thoughts, they will beat this virus as it can be beaten,” said the Presiding Officer led by National Assembly Speaker Ms Thandi Modise and National Council of Provinces Chairperson Mr Amos Masondo.
As the country opens up gradually in line with the pronouncements by the President, Parliament is continuing to intensify its risk-adjusted plan to maintain a Covid-19 safer environment for all Members of Parliament, staff and stakeholders. In so doing, entrances are managed through the screening of all MPs and staff plus managing movements by restricting entry onto the precinct. The 90 Plein Street entrance is the designated entry point. Currently, no visitors are allowed yet into Parliament.
The Executive Authority wishes to express its appreciation on the efforts of all officials in Parliament, working within the precinct and those functioning remotely, for their creativity, dedication and professional support. During this period, the National Assembly held a series of successful hybrid sessions where President Cyril Ramaphosa also answered Questions for Oral Reply to members of the NA while the National Council of Provinces held completely virtual plenary sessions, including a historical milestone of passing the Appropriation Bill virtually for the first time since the dawn of democracy. In all, over 250 virtual committee meetings have been undertaken since April 2020.
All members of the parliamentary community and the South African public are urged to remain vigilant, cautious and compliant to the Alert Level 3 regulations. The Parliament leadership sends its heartfelt condolences to all families, friends and acquaintances of those who succumbed to this pandemic.